The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice has adjourned its investigations into the infamous Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal, following a barrage of objections by Lawyers of the alleged bribe ministers.
George Sipa Yankey one of the persons mentioned in the M&J saga and his Lawyer however did not raise objections. Lawyers of the current ambassador to Nigeria, Baba Kamara, who has been accused of using his influence as a Mabey and Johnson agent in the 90’s to corrupt government officials, contended that CHRAJ has no mandate to investigate their client.
They argued that CHRAJ can only investigate cases involving public officials and not private individuals as was the case of their client when he allegedly corrupted the public officials in the 90’s.
“We are prepared to stand the trial any time any place but within the ambit of the constitution and the law. Among other things if we’re saying that if we were not public officers at the time or as present, then CHRAJ under its powers as ombudsman cannot bring us under its jurisdiction,” Mr Kamara’s lawyers argued.
Mr Kamara’s counsel also cited Article 219 (2a) of the 1992 constitution which states the “the Commissioner cannot investigate a matter which is pending before a court of judicial tribunal or be a matter involving the relations or dealings between the government and any other government or an international organisation etc, etc”
The commission was therefore forced to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kamara will not be appearing before CHRAJ anymore until the Supreme Court delivers its ruling. CHRAJ Commissioner Emile Short said the referral to the Supreme Court is necessary because Baba Kamara’s position “raises an interpretation of certain provisions of the constitutions of the constitution.”
The Supreme Court has an exclusive preserve to interpret the law. Further objections by other accused persons forced the commission to adjourn the entire public hearing which started today and was expected to end by the 29th of March.
In all seven former public officials including former Health Minister under the Mills Administration, Dr. George Sipa Yankey, as well as former ministers for Roads and Finance Ato Quarshie, and Kwame Peprah under the Rawlings administration are being investigated.
The rest are Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, former Works and Housing Minister under the Kufuor Administration and Alhaji Baba Kamara who was recently appointed as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria.
Source: The Patriot/Ghana
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